Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday congratulated the Department of Space for the successful launch of communication satellite GSAT-8, which will give a boost to direct-to-home services in the country.

The Prime Minister rang up Space Secretary K. Radhakrishnan at the launch site and conveyed his greetings.

GSAT-8 was successfully launched by Arianespace from Kourou in French Guiana in the wee hours of Saturday.

The satellite was injected into space by European launcher Arianespace’s Ariane 5 rocket which lifted off at 2.08 a.m. IST, with Japan’s ST-2 spacecraft as co-passenger.

Weighing 3,100 kg at lift off, the GSAT-8 is one of the heaviest and high-powered satellites built by the Bangalore-headquartered Indian Space Research Organisation.

An ISRO team, which witnessed the launch, expressed delight over the successful mission.

“I am extremely happy to announce that ISRO’s Master Control Facility at Hassan near Bangalore has confirmed the reception of signals from GSAT-8 and taken charge of the command and control of GSAT-8 immediately after its injection into the geo-stationary transfer orbit,” Mr. Radhakrishnan said.

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